Surge in Post-Lockdown Divorce and Separation?

An article for Village Eye Magazine by Rowberry Morris Family Law Solicitor Stuart Duncan.

At the beginning of the pandemic, commentators widely predicted the pressure of lockdown and home-schooling would cause a surge in separation and divorce enquiries.

However recent data from the Ministry of Justice confirms that there was actually a fall in the number of divorces during lockdown and not the rise that was widely predicted. Between 1 April 2020 and 31 December 2020, the number of divorces filed in England & Wales fell by 5% compared to the previous year.

During times of economic uncertainty, we often find that people put plans to separate on hold. A divorce or separation can cause serious disruption to a couple’s finances, as it will often lead to the cost of running two separate households. The pandemic has made this particularly difficult for those struggling with reduced household income. Some couples have also found it hard to get the solace they need to seek confidential legal advice.

Citizens Advice data suggests this is now changing. Divorce and separation enquiries have been rising and couples are now becoming increasingly confident about the vaccination programme and post-lockdown recovery.

For those considering a divorce or separation, please bear the following points in mind:

Seek advice at an early stage

It is important that you get legal advice at an early stage and ideally before any lengthy period of separation. Having a full understanding of your rights will put you firmly in control of your situation and help to reduce anxiety. It is important that you feel comfortable with your legal advisor and they understand your priorities.

Understanding your options

There will be a lot of things to think about in the initial stages, such as where will you live, how much time the children will spend time with each parent and whether you will need to sell the family home. Rather than trying to second-guess these answers, you should make sure you have a full understanding of the options. There are many amicable, constructive and family-focused ways to resolve these issues.

Putting your children first

Regardless of your marital status, you will always be the parents of your children and so it is crucial that you take early steps to act in their best interests. Being transparent and communicating respectfully with each other will be fundamental to achieving this.

Stuart Duncan is a specialist Divorce and Family Solicitor at Rowberry Morris, based at our Tadley office.  He is a member of Resolution with an accreditation in advanced finance and offers fixed fee consultations for £150+VAT.

If you have any questions about divorce or separation, please contact Stuart on 0118 982 3774 or at stuart.duncan@rowberrymorris.co.uk.